Super Committee Failure: Let The Blame Game Begin
The Wall Street Journal: Why The Super Committee Failed
President Obama summed up our debt crisis best when he told Republican members of the House in January 2010 that "The major driver of our long-term liabilities ... is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending." A few months later, however, Mr. Obama and his party's leaders in Congress added trillions of dollars in new health-care spending to the government's balance sheet. Democrats on the committee made it clear that the new spending called for in the president's health law was off the table. Still, committee Republicans offered to negotiate a plan on the other two health-care entitlements—Medicare and Medicaid — based upon the reforms included in the budget the House passed earlier this year. ... Democrats rejected this approach but assured us on numerous occasions they would offer a "structural" or "architectural" Medicare reform plan of their own. While I do not question their good faith effort to do so, they never did (Rep. Jeb Hensarling, 11/22).
USA Today: John Boehner: 'I Did Everything Possible'
Throughout the process, Republicans made a series of serious, good-faith offers that included tax reforms that would lead to new revenue and more economic growth. The GOP proposals would get rid of special-interest tax breaks and loopholes and replace the current tax code with a system that would lower tax rates for every single American and help create jobs (House Speaker John Boehner, 11/22).
USA Today: Harry Reid: Republicans Never Found The Courage
For the good of our country, Democrats were prepared to strike a grand bargain that would make painful cuts while asking millionaires to pay their fair share, and we put our willingness on paper. But Republicans never came close to meeting us halfway (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 11/22).
The Washington Post: The Failure Of The Super Committee Bodes Poorly For Future Negotiations
Some Republicans began the process of accepting the need for new tax revenue, offering up a package that would total $300 billion more over the next decade than would be collected if the Bush tax cuts remained in effect. That was a welcome step but nowhere near enough, especially at the cost of locking in the nearly $4 trillion revenue loss of keeping the rest of the tax cuts in place. The balance necessary for a debt reduction deal was way out of whack. Some Democrats, for their part, were willing to accept entitlement cuts, including a change in the formula for calculating cost-of-living increases for Social Security checks and cuts for Medicare beneficiaries (11/21).
The New York Times: The Super Committee Collapses
When you hear Republicans claim that Democrats refused to touch their sacred cows of spending, remember that the Democratic offer would have cut $475 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years, nearly half of which would have come directly from beneficiaries. That's more than the Bowles-Simpson deficit plan proposed, and eight times the level of Medicare cuts offered by President Obama in September (11/21).
USA Today: Why The 'Super Committee' Failed
One reason is political polarization. The parties have made so many promises to their bases — on taxes, on entitlements — that compromise is seen as a sellout and shared sacrifice as unmentionable. Many members of Congress face more political risk from the wings of their own parties than from the other party. With elections coming up next year, they'd rather have the issue than a deal (11/22).
The Boston Globe: Behind The 'Super' Failure: A Deficit Of Political Will
The failure of the deficit super committee is a profound disappointment, a victory for the politics of litmus tests and pressure groups. It's enough to make voters want to throw the bums out, except that very impulse — the desire to "send a message" by electing candidates who feed off voter anger — may be partly responsible for the failure. Clearly, members of Congress were more fearful of talk-radio attacks and upsetting key interest groups than of allowing serious national problems to fester (11/22).
The Washington Post: Republican Obstinacy Doomed The Super Committee
Yes, no deal is almost certainly better than a bad deal. The automatic cuts will be painful, but they don't touch entitlements — and thus don't preempt the serious discussion we need to have about making sure that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are sustainable (Eugene Robinson, 11/21).
The Wall Street Journal: Thank You, Grover Norquist
Of course it would have been preferable if the two sides had come together now to cut spending, reform the tax code and remake Medicare. Preferable, but implausible (11/22).